Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 9/15/2019

If you use a teapot, you know that over time, as the water heats and cools, calcium and other deposits from the water build up on the bottom of the kettle and need cleaning out periodically. The same is true of your water heater. Both city water and well water can contain suspended minerals and chemicals like calcium and magnesium. Unless you filter the water through reverse osmosis before it reaches your hot water tank, those chemicals build up inside and leave a heavy crust at the bottom. Even a small amount of sediment reduces your water heater’s effectiveness and ability to keep a stable temperature in your tank.

To ensure that your water heater gives you lovely warm temperatures for years to come, clean out the sediment at least once each year, and more often if your water has heavy hard-water sediment. 

How to drain and clean your water tank

  • Turn off the power supply. If your appliance is electric, just turn off the electricity, but if your appliance is gas, you’ll need to turn off both electricity and gas.
  • Turn off the cold water supply from before where it enters the water tank. If your inlet has a valve, turn it off there, but, in many cases, this means turning it off at the street.
  • Turn on the hot water tap in the nearest sink or tub. This gives a second access point allowing air to flow into the tank as you drain it.
  • Attach a garden hose firmly to the drain spigot and run the end into a bucket or tub if the appliance is in the basement or cellar, or outside into the garden if on the main floor. If your water heater is in the attic, you can run the hose out onto the roof to drain into the gutters provided they don’t have screens on them.
  • Remember that you may have to empty a 5-gallon bucket several times.
  • Carefully turn on the spigot and check your attachment for leaks.
  • Once all the water is drained, open and close the cold-water valve several times to force fresh water through the bottom of the tank to clean out the last of the sediment. Take care as you reopen the valve because the water will run out quickly and surprise you.
  • Finally, when the water runs clear, close the cold-water inlet and the water heater’s drain valve and remove the hose.
  • Open the cold-water valve and allow the tank to fill. Open the hot-water faucets on all sinks and tubs to remove air from the lines.
  • When the faucets stop sputtering air, close them all and restore power. NOTE: do not restore power until the tank is full. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions to light the pilot. If you’re not sure how to light it, contact your gas company for assistance.

Keeping your water heater in tip-top shape ensure its longevity and reduces maintenance costs. If you’re uncertain about completing this task yourself, ask your real estate professional to refer you to plumbing professionals.




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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 9/8/2019

We live in a world of convenience and endless choices. To watch a TV show, you can find it on cable, Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, and more. Sometimes, all of these options make it easy to spend more than necessary on monthly services.

If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, one way to save a bit more each month is to cut corners wherever possible.

In today’s post, I’m going to cover some tips that will help you start saving toward the down payment on your first home.

Cutting down on monthly services

They’re enticing, the myriad of entertainment services that we can now take advantage of. For a seemingly low monthly cost you can have hundreds of channels through cable. However, many cable users have noticed that their cable bill keeps creeping up each year and the service doesn’t get any better.

One way to start saving more each month is to ditch cable altogether. For news and the weather, there are many websites available. And, some local news stations stream live on their websites for free.

But, what about watching your favorite TV shows and movies? One of the world’s best kept secrets is that of interlibrary loans. Most public libraries are part of a system that allows you to get books, games, movies, and TV shows shipped to your local library for free. You simply reserve the latest season of Game of Thrones and wait for an email from your library.

Another issue many people have with monthly entertainment services is their tendency to add up. Reassess your monthly bills. If you’re paying for Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, do you really need all three?

Be smart about your savings

To save effectively, make sure your savings account is seeing a high return on its interest rate. Online banks tend to have higher returns than their brick & mortar counterparts, and most people don’t need to make regular visits to a bank anymore anyway.

Similarly, for credit cards, choose one with cashback rewards. Only use your credit card for necessities, like groceries and gas. Then, pay off each statement in full each month. Once you get your rewards, use them for more groceries and gas or put them in your down payment savings account, if possible.

Don’t forget about CDs (certificates of deposit)

One of the most effective ways of saving for a down payment is a certificate of deposit. CDs are perfect for down payments because you aren’t able to withdraw from them until they have matured--i.e., until you’ve reached your savings goal. They can be set for 6 months, a year, or more, and they tend to have higher returns than savings accounts.


Using a combination of these methods will help you start saving more each month so you can achieve your dream of owning a home sooner.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 9/1/2019

The prospect of buying your first home is both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, owning your own house is the final step of financial independence. You’re no longer accountable to a landlord and their rental agreement. On the other hand, buying a home is a huge financial decision that will determine where you live for the next several years.

As a first-time buyer, there’s a lot to learn about buying a house. You’ll often hear homeowners say, “I wish I knew that before buying this house.” So, in this article, we’re going to give you some common mistakes that first-time buyers make so you can have the best possible experience in the home buying process.  

1. Underestimating the costs

When first-time buyers get preapproved for a mortgage, they sometimes see this as permission to spend whatever amount they’re approved for. However, even after closing costs, there are a number of other expenses you’ll need to account for in your budget.

You’ll be responsible for maintenance, utilities, taxes, and repairing things when they get old. If all of your money is tied up just paying your mortgage and other bills, you won’t have anything left over to maintain your house.

Furthermore, living your life just to make your mortgage payments is draining. Instead, buy a house that gives you enough room to save for retirement, vacations, a family, or whatever else you see in your future.

2. Prequalify first

Before you start shopping for homes, make sure you meet some basic prerequisites. You’ll need a solid credit score, steady income history, and money saved for a down payment. You might set yourself up for disappointment looking at homes that are outside of your spending limit if you don’t get prequalified first.

3. This probably isn’t your last home

While it’s okay to dream about the future, don’t set unrealistic expectations for your first home. You can always upgrade later on, and building equity in your first home is a good way to help you do that.

4. Don’t get too attached to your “dream home”

So, you’ve been shopping around for a few weeks and finally found the perfect house. If everything goes well your offer could get accepted. But if it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. There are constantly new houses appearing on the market, and there’s a good chance you’ll like one even more than this one.

5. Don’t waive contingencies without good reason

Contingencies are there to protect you. They might seem like a way to needlessly complicate a contract. Or, you might think that waiving them makes you look better in the eyes of the seller. However, both sellers and their agents know that contingencies serve an important purpose.

The three main contingencies you’ll want when buying a home are an appraisal contingency, financing contingency, and an inspection contingency. Unless you’re buying under special circumstances, you’ll want to keep all three in your contract. 





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 8/25/2019

Believe it or not, buying a condo can be a quick, easy process, particularly for those who understand their homebuying needs.

Ultimately, there are several factors to consider before you purchase a condo, including:

1. Your Budget

How much can you afford to spend on a condo? You should evaluate your homebuying budget closely to ensure you can cover all of the costs associated with condo living.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage usually is ideal. With a mortgage in hand, you can browse a wide range of condos and find one that matches your budget perfectly.

Furthermore, don't forget to account for homeowners' association (HOA) fees before you buy a condo. HOA fees will vary depending on the condo community, and you should learn about them in advance so you can budget accordingly.

2. Property Size and Location

How much space do you need to accommodate your family? Consider the short- and long-term ramifications of a condo purchase, and you should have no trouble finding a condo that is the right size for you.

If you're uncertain about how big of a condo that you'll need, don't hesitate to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market expert will learn about your homebuying needs and help you narrow your search for the ideal condo.

Also, be sure to consider the location of a condo. If you want to find a place to live near school or work, you should search for condos that will help you cut down on your commute time.

3. Condo Rules and Regulations

Condo living is different from living in a traditional house. In a condo community, you'll have your own property, but there may be numerous condo rules and regulations in place that you'll need to follow at all times.

For example, many condo owners cannot modify a property's exterior without first getting approval from an HOA board. This means if you want to paint your condo bright pink or upgrade the property's windows, you'll need to ask the HOA board for permission.

Examine a condo community's rules and regulations prior to purchasing a condo. This will enable you to review the HOA board's mandates and determine whether you would feel comfortable following these rules and regulations.

When it comes to finding a condo, there is no need to look for a property on your own. Conversely, if you work with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of searching for a top-notch condo.

Finding a real estate agent with condo experience is essential. This real estate professional will set up condo showings, keep you informed about new condos as they become available and negotiate with property sellers on your behalf. That way, this real estate agent will make it easy for you to acquire a first-rate condo at a budget-friendly price.

Kick off your search for the perfect condo today, and you can move closer to securing a condo that will serve you well for an extended period of time.




Tags: Condo   buyer tips   Buying a home  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Thomas Murphy on 8/18/2019

If you have always wanted to own a second home in the mountains, near the beach or just about anywhere else, now may be the ideal time to transform your dream into a reality. The housing market offers many opportunities for property buyers – even those who already own a residence. If you understand what it takes to navigate the homebuying journey, you could quickly and effortlessly purchase a second house that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Ultimately, there are lots of things you can do to streamline your search for a second residence, such as:

1. Get Your Finances in Order

If you still have a mortgage on your current residence, there is no need to stress. In fact, by consulting with a mortgage specialist, you can evaluate your home financing options as you prepare to search for a second house.

Mortgage specialists are available at banks and credit unions, and they understand the ins and outs of home financing. Thus, mortgage specialists can help you analyze your current mortgage, establish a homebuying budget and determine the optimal financing option for a second house.

Of course, if your current house's mortgage is paid in full, mortgage specialists can still help you get ready to launch a search for a second residence. If you collaborate with mortgage specialists, you can get the help you need to immediately obtain financing to acquire a second house.

2. Narrow Your Home Search

You know you want to buy a second house – now, you just need to hone your house search based on your individual needs. If you focus on residences in a select group of cities and towns, you may quickly discover a wonderful house that you can enjoy for years to come.

As you consider potential cities and towns where you want to purchase a second home, think about your short- and long-term goals, too. By doing so, you can boost the likelihood of finding a second house that will suit you perfectly both now and in the future.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

For those who want to acquire a second home sooner rather than later, hiring a real estate agent is a must. Because if you have a friendly, knowledgeable real estate agent at your side, you can minimize the risk of encountering roadblocks that otherwise could slow down your homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is happy to teach you about the housing market in your preferred cities and towns. Plus, he or she can offer expert recommendations about how much to offer to pay for a residence you want to acquire. And if you have concerns or questions as you pursue a second home, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them right away.

Take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a second residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you could speed up your search for a second house.




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